After nearly two years of development, the queer studies minor is now up for review by the Academic Senate. If approved, the minor will be included in the 2017-2019 course catalog and available for any interested students starting Fall 2017.
Jane Lehr, women’s and gender studies department chair, explained that the idea for a queer studies minor has been in the works for quite some time. The women’s and gender studies department took inspiration from several universities across the nation who already include queer studies minors in their curriculum catalogs, such as Humboldt State University and California State University, Northridge.
The minor was proposed in response to concern for underrepresented and misrepresented students in Winter 2016.
While the main goal of the minor is to foster inclusivity, it doesn’t stop there. Students in the minor will learn about queer theory and will be able to share and develop their own opinions on current issues involving gender and sexuality and how they interact with other aspects of human identity.
The idea is for students to be involved in creating and understanding knowledge, and help them develop their vision for what the world should be. In order to accomplish all of these goals, the Queer Studies Working Group (QSWG) was created.
The QSWG was formed in Spring 2015 to develop the queer studies minor curriculum. The group was comprised of both students and faculty from a wide variety of departments across the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). When creating the course listings, the QSWG analyzed courses found in other queer studies minors at other universities and compared the listings with the classes already offered by Cal Poly. Through this process, QSWG created an interdisciplinary minor made of up classes from across the CLA, including classes from the history, anthropology and women’s and gender studies departments.
The QSWG was also in charge of developing new courses to be included in the minor. They focused on issues that Cal Poly students would be interested in learning about and developed new classes where possible gaps in the minor overlapped with student interest. Some course listings added to the proposed minor include queer ethnic studies, queer anthropology and a rotating-topic repeatable course called contemporary issues in queer studies.
In total, the proposed minor would require 24 units. There would be three required classes: contemporary issues in queer studies, sexuality and gender studies and queer ethnic studies. In addition, one 400-level class would be required: either queer anthropology or gender and sexuality in modern Europe. From there, students would have access to eight units of approved elective courses that, if approved by the Academic Senate, would be available to view on the course catalog.
“What this minor is trying to do is trying to fill what we see is a pretty serious gap in the curriculum,” history department chair Lewis Call said. “Cal Poly should be leading the way, not falling behind.”